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Friday, August 14, 2009

Alert: NTIA - RUS Post Further Electronic Application Guidance

StimulatingBroadband.com 08/14/09 (Editor's Note: NTIA - RUS have posted the following further guidance for applicants filing electronic BIP and BTOP applications this weekend, and into the electronic filing extension period ending 08/20/09 at 5:00 P.M. (ET). This is the full text posted after 7:00 P.M. (ET) this evening. Our thanks to Mr. Mark Tolbert, NTIA Spokesman, for alerting us to this update, republished below in full. See:BroadbandUSA.gov)

Update on BIP/BTOP Application Process

Thank you for your interest in participating in the BIP/BTOP programs. Due to the high volume of applicants submitting proposals, you may have experienced delays or technical problems. We have determined that one major source of delay is the generation of PDFs, both while uploading and when reviewing applications mid-work. NTIA and RUS are taking corrective action to improve the application process.

We have extended the application closing deadline for BIP and BTOP until 5 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on August 20, 2009, for any electronic applications pending as of 5 p.m. ET on August 14, 2009.

We have extended the operating hours for our helpdesk and added weekend service. Help is now available from 9 AM to 6 PM ET this weekend and 9 AM to 8 PM ET during the work week leading up to August 20. Please call (888) 861-5509 or email Helpdesk@broadbandusa.gov

We are enhancing our system's technical capacity to speed up the generation of PDF documents as well as reduce the upload time for attachments. We have more than doubled the server capacity to handle the spike in traffic, and are currently improving the processing power of our application to reduce system latency.

We are monitoring system performance and will increase capacity as necessary. We are also adding clarifying messages throughout the step-by-step application process to help applicants navigate the process successfully.

We can also use your help in making the system run more efficiently. When you upload a file, the system converts the file to PDF format for storage. This is causing a system bottleneck in an effort to convert the high volume of files we are receiving. That is the reason you often cannot view the file immediately after upload. The upload worked but the file is in the conversion queue. The number of files in the conversion queue will impact how long it takes before your file is converted. There are steps applicants can take to help speed your application processing and ensure all applications are filed by the deadline. These are steps applicants can take to speed the process.

Decrease Generation of PDFs. To the extent possible, applicants should avoid generating PDFs while still working through the application. Please generate PDFs only once you have finished your application or when it is absolutely necessary. This will reduce lag time.

Convert Files to PDF Yourself. To the extent possible, applicants should convert all files to PDF on their own before uploading. This will reduce latency and ease strain on the application system. To load Adobe Reader, go to Download latest Adobe Reader .

Refrain from Multiple Submissions of Attachments. When uploading attachments, applicants should avoid clicking the 'upload' button more than once. This will not expedite your upload.

Submit Applications During Non-Business Hours. To the extent possible, applicants should submit application materials during non-business hours (after 8 pm EST, and on weekends).

Submit Applications Early. Applicants should submit their application as soon as practicable rather than waiting until Thursday, August 20. StimulatingBroadband.com

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